Connie Tindale
4 sons of Horus

The four sons of Horus

The tomb of Nefertari lies in the Valley of the Queens which is to the south of the Theban Hills. It is a magnificent tomb but is not open to the public.


When Ernesto Schiaparelli discovered this tomb in 1904, all the paintings on its walls were in pristine condition but by the 1980’s they had deteriorated alarmingly.  Salt crystals, caused by humidity and rising groundwater levels, had caused the plaster to flake away, ruining the magnificent paintings in the process.  In order to stop the deterioration, a major five-year restoration project was undertaken at a cost of around $5 million and the deterioration was halted.  The tomb was then reopened to the public with severely restricted visitor numbers but the tomb was closed yet again for restoration in 2004 and has yet to be re-opened.

This tomb is perhaps the most beautiful and is certainly the most colourful of all the Theban tombs.  It shows the love and respect that Ramses II had for his favourite wife.  Nefertari was not his only Great Royal Wife, as his reign was long, and after she died his principal daughters ascended to her position.  However, no other wife had the same influence on state affairs that she did and she held the title “Lady of the Two Lands” referring to her importance to Upper and Lower Egypt.  In addition to this glorious tomb Ramses dedicated the temple of Hathor at Abu Simbel to her, the only queen to be given such an honour.

Anubis waits to greet Nefertarineferari present food
Anubis waits for Nefertari ....................................Nefertari presents food

Beyond the entrance to the tomb is a sloping corridor, which represents the descent into the underworld.  It is beautifully decorated with aspects of Nefertari with Isis and Nephthys, predominantly in scarlet, black, and gold - a truly stunning combination of colours.

Her burial chamber has four supporting pillars, with two side rooms and a small inner room accessed from it.  The four pillars, which are decorated with a variety of deities, formed a shrine for the sarcophagus, which unfortunately has never been found.  Inside, the chamber the god Anubis is stretched out on a tomb waiting to greet Nefertari as she continues her journeys into the underworld where Isis takes her by the hand to greet Osiris who will open her mouth and breath new life into her.  To ensure her safe passage through the underworld Nefertari pays homage to the Books of Gates, which are depicted on the tomb walls.   

nefertari with isisOsiris waits for NefertariThe great royal wife
Nefertari with isis .........................Osiris waits to greet Nefertari ........................The Great Royal Wife

Ramses II was lax in the quality of some if the work in his monuments and in the placement of his own tomb, but the craftsmanship in this tomb is superb. Many are of mixed feelings as to whether they think the tomb should be reopened to the public.  To deprive people of the thrill of seeing this tomb is a tragedy; to see it deteriorate even further is an even greater one.


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